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Job hunting

I’m in a bit of a dilemma at the moment. I work 30 hours a week doing telesales which I really hate. Despite my employer being really supportive since my diagnosis I’ve decided to look for another job. I’m applying for part time admin/receptionist type jobs and just wondered - do I tell them about my ms? I’ve been relapse free for a year now thanks to the wonder of tysabri and I consider myself quite mildly affected - a few sensory issues (pins and needles) but no obvious symptoms. Doing less hours will mean I can fit my monthly infusions in around work and will have more time to myself to rest if I need to. But when should I tell a potential employer? Should I tell them at all? My partner thinks I should wait until I’ve settled into a new job and then tell them but I’m not sure. Any tips/experience?

Hi Hairbear,

In general, I agree with your partner - don’t tell unless or until you’ve got the job.

However, as with most things in life, there are exceptions. If you see it would be clearly in your interests to tell them, there’s no reason why not. For example, some employers guarantee interviews to suitably-qualified disabled applicants (I think it’s called the “blue tick” scheme, or something like that). So obviously, if it would guarantee you an interview, it would be a bit of an own-goal to keep quiet.

Although another poster recently found they still did not get the so-called “guaranteed” interview, despite seemingly having no mismatch in qualifications, and having been open and honest about the MS. She (I think it was a she) did write to them querying it, I believe, but I don’t know what the upshot was.

Also some application packs have a separate section, which goes to HR only (so would not be disclosed to the person actually recruiting). Usually, this section is voluntary, and you’re not obliged to answer any of it, but it can be used to help them with “monitoring” (making sure they ARE fair to under-represented groups), and also to help plan any workplace adjustments you might need. Usually, I would trust that sections like that are only going to be used in a constructive way, and so I’d be honest. But I recognize many people do not have such a trusting view, and wouldn’t declare anything.

Incidentally, the dilemma doesn’t only crop up with jobs! Enrolled for a short, part-time college course today, and got to the dreaded question about: “Do you consider yourself to have any disability, or anything that may affect your ability to study?”

Like you, I haven’t had a relapse in a long time, and I’m not affected in ways anybody can see. But then I thought: “All the more reason to tell them!” If I had my leg in plaster, they could see it, but if I have MS, they won’t appreciate I might have problems unless I tell.

So I took a deep breath, and answered: “Yes, I’ve got MS”.

Tina

x

Hi Hairbear,

My advice is not to mention it in the interview but once you have been offered the job then you tell them but nonchalantly - like its no big deal. That way if you need time off they cannot say you have not informed them of your condition.

Good luck with the job hunting

JBK x

Thanks Tina. For the last year I’ve felt well looked after by my employer, they’re very flexible when it comes to appointments etc but now I’ve had a really good “healthy” year, I’ve decided its time to move on. The monotony of having to make up to 100 calls a day to hit target is sole destroying - I want to get out and meet people, face to face - I’ve had enough of hearing the dial tone!!! I’ve seen the perfect job - a part time receptionist at a doctors surgery, just need to send in cv and letter, no application form required so I might not even be asked any questions about my health… I think I’ll just have to play it by ear and make the decision depending on the job and the employer. Good luck with college - what course are you doing?

Thanks JBK! I guess if I save it until I’m offered a job they can’t really withdraw the offer can they?

Thanks JBK! I guess if I wait til I’m offered a job they can’t really withdraw it can they?

Eek! I don’t think I could ever have coped with such a target-driven job, even when I was well. 100 phone-calls a day!

I know all jobs are target-driven, to some extent, but I’m a slow worker anyway, and need a position that favours quality over quantity. I find even just being on the phone tiring. Before I was made redundant, last Summer, my boss used to be a great one for convening two-hour conference calls. I think it’s too much for anyone - let alone when one of the participants isn’t well. Unless you are at the UN, trying to resolve the Syria conflict, I really can’t see any call for two-hour conferences. I think my boss actually had it as one of his targets that he should have a certain number of meetings, which had the effect they were called anyway, even if there was nothing important to say - so he could tick the box to say he’d had one, Aaaaaaarggggh! It was almost a relief to be made redundant, really. That kind of nonsense was doing my head in.

I was hesitant to mention the course at all, really, because it’s such a little one. It’s just one afternoon a week, for ten weeks, on History of Art. I’m not worried about the course at all, but really worried about transport to/from, and if Winter sets in early, will I give up the first time it snows? The journey home is going to involve a 40-minute wait at the station. That’s not going to be very nice in November, is it? There is a bar there, where it’s possible to get a coffee, so I guess on very cold nights, I’ll have to take shelter in there.

The doctor’s surgery job sounds ideal - especially if you have a lot of telephone experience already. I’m sure it can still get pretty hectic (I’ve seen what my doctor’s is like), but if it’s only part-time anyway, and hopefully you won’t have stupid targets, like you MUST make X-number of phone calls. Not that the NHS is immune from “stupid target” culture, but hopefully it won’t be too bad for receptionists.

Good luck - I hope you get it! It does sound better than what you’re doing at the moment.

Tina

x

Hi Hairbear

I haven’t got anything to add to the already excellent advice you have had from JBK and Tina but I just wanted to say that if anyone was going to understand your needs who better than a surgery? That job sounds ideal. I’m sure it will be challenging enough as we all know how busy it can be at the doctor’s and some patients can be a little demanding but, after a telesales position, I’m sure you have the skills to cope with it.

Good luck

Tracey x

I get where you are coming from. I worked in a call centre once and wore a headset. Calls came through one after the other. There was no warning that the call was gonna connect to me as soon as I said bye to one call I heard hello from the next caller. Nightmare. I didn’t stay there long. Like you say, very sole destroying.

I agree with all the advice given above so won’t add anything else as I would be repeating what Kelly and Tina are saying.

Good luck with the job hunting, and hope you get an interview for the one at the doctors surgery, sounds perfect.

Shazzie xx

Thanks all! After another glued to my headset and dealing with rude people I’m more desperate to get out! Mmmmm, I know a doctors surgery would probably involve its “challenges”, I’ll have to take it a step at a time, first step is to apply and see if I get to interview stage…